I feel a little bad for Peter David, because I think this “X-Factor” storyline put him between a rock and a hard place. With “X-Factor” not being based out of Utopia in San Francisco, there wasn’t a logical reason for it to be part of the core “Second Coming” crossover. At the same time, it’s hard to believe that Bastion would’ve enacted his strike on the X-Men while ignoring X-Factor’s presence if he’s really trying to wipe out all the mutants on Earth in one fell swoop.
The end result is this, the last of three tie-in (or “Second Coming: Revelations”) issues which isn’t part of the core “Second Coming” storyline, but has some sort of connection. The problem is, when shoved in with the rest of David’s existing stories, it just doesn’t fit. As a reader, we end up with a hasty conclusion to the Monet and Baron Mordo storyline, and the team is reunited for the first time in quite a while, in an unfortunately artificial-feeling sequence. From there there’s nothing left but fighting off the arm of Bastion’s group assigned to X-Factor, and that’s where things really start going wrong.
After watching almost three months of tactical maneuvers and smart decisions on the part of Bastion in the main “Second Coming” story, it’s like we’re seeing an entirely different mastermind in this issue. I understand that X-Factor can’t get wiped out as part of a crossover they’re only tangentially connected to, but this just feels too easy. Sure, there’s a way that Trask is defeated that feels like a vintage David moment. But otherwise, it falls flat. It feels like David is trying to write a generic fight scene, and that’s exactly how it comes across: generic. When it comes to a close, I found myself not buying it; there wasn’t anything that made me feel like there was a real point to this entire exercise.
Not helping matters is some of the weakest art from Valentine De Landro and Pat Davidson I’ve seen on the book. It starts out all right, but quickly loses all detail and energy; the fight scenes in particular look poorly rendered and slightly stiff. I don’t know if there was a problem allocating time for this issue and everything was rushed, or if there was just a lack of enthusiasm for the issue, but I was surprised enough by the degrading art as the comic progressed that I actually flipped back to the first page to double-check that there wasn’t a guest-artist filling in on some of the pages.
I appreciate that David and the mutant office tried to logically bring “X-Factor” into “Second Coming” as best they could, but now that it’s over I think it might’ve just been better to ignore it entirely. (After all, if you’re going to recognize X-Factor running around, it’s hard to not also note that “Second Coming” targeted all the teleporters but somehow missed Shatterstar. Considering he uses his power in this very issue, that’s a rather large plotting blind spot.) This reminded me much more of the lackluster “X-Factor” we had about nine months ago, and that’s not the kind of memory this book should try and evoke in its readers. I expect better than this.